A district court has denied the bids of Timothy McGinn and David Smith that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority disciplinary proceedings against them be stayed until after the conclusion of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s related civil action. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said the court doesn’t have jurisdiction over this stay request. While noting that the judicial review of this type of FINRA proceeding is vested in the federal courts of appeal, the district court said that it did not believe that transfer, rather than dismissal, was “in the interest of justice” because the plaintiffs were not likely to succeed on their claim’s merit and had not shown that they would be irreparably harmed because of the FINRA proceedings.
McGinn and Smith are part owners of McGinn Smith & Co, Inc., as well as stockbrokers. Last year, FINRA’s Department of Enforcement submitted a complaint accusing them and their firm of taking part in four fraudulent securities offerings between September 2003 and November 2006. FINRA asked the SEC to look into the matter because it believed that the plaintiffs had violated securities law.
The SEC began its own formal probe and went on to sue the plaintiffs and their securities firm for securities fraud and other violations. A receiver was appointed by the federal court to seize control of McGinn Smith & Co. and its assets.
While a FINRA officer did stay proceedings against the financial firm, it refused to do so against the two men, who then filed their case requesting that the court stay the FINRA proceedings until the SEC case has concluded. The plaintiffs believe that the SRO violated their constitutional rights when it acted as a proxy for the SEC.
Court Declines to Stay FINRA Proceeding Pending Conclusion of Related SEC Action, BNA Securities Law Daily, May 17, 2011
SEC seeks shutdown of McGinn and Smith venture, TimesUnion.com, November 4, 2010
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